5. Communication Matters

In this section, we will explore some common habits when communicating with older adults.

The next video contains a dramatization that takes place in a doctor’s office with a daughter and her mother. You are encouraged to reflect on the communication approach of the healthcare professional and strategies that would be effective in this scenario. A self-reflection exercise is included below the video.

(To read along click here.)


Notice what a difference it made when the doctor started speaking directly to the patient, spoke more clearly, and took some extra time. All of a sudden the conversation included the patient and wasn’t happening around the patient, as if she wasn’t in the room. That helped the patient to be able to find the words she had been looking for, and helped her to feel that she had some choice.

In the following video, Aynsley Moorhouse discusses the importance of effective communication with older adults.

(To read along click here.)

Think about the difference between dismissing someone as a “wanderer” and understanding that they had something in mind but got lost along the way. Think about the difference between medicating an aggressive patient and trying to figure out which of their needs are not being met.

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